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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, July 31, 2003

Jacobsen continues parade of veterans winning on PGA

 •  Kyono, Kono entered in stroke-play event
 •  Golf notices
 •  Tour money leaders
 •  Holes in one

By Bill Kwon

Peter Jacobsen's win at the Greater Hartford Open earned the veteran a trip to Kapalua.

Associated Press

OK, so whose turn is it to win on the PGA Tour this week at the Buick Open? Jay Don Blake or our old local buddy, Scott Simpson? Jay Haas would be a good choice, but he's not entered. They all haven't won in years.

It wouldn't be surprising if another forty-something golfer did it.

They would only be following a delightfully geriatric trend that includes Craig Stadler, who's old enough that he's already playing on the Champions Tour, and last week by Peter Jacobsen, who's not only pushing 50, he's shoving it.

Talk about a blast from the past and turning back the clock.

If Stadler's victory in the B.C. Open was surprising, Jacobsen's wire-to-wire win in the Greater Hartford Open was even more unexpected.

Stadler hadn't won a PGA Tour event in seven years. But at least he was polishing up his game for the geezer tour. And he had earned $1.3 million in the past three years before cashing in the biggest paycheck of his career ($540,000) two weeks ago.

Jacobsen's stunning victory in the GHO was his first since 1995 when he won twice. But Jake's game had been floundering, especially after hip surgery in 2001. As a result, he's now relegated to the "Other Prominent PGA Tour Members" back section of the PGA Media Guide. But not anymore.

"I've been playing very, very solid golf," said Jacobsen, who is in Michigan this week for the Buick Open. "If you look at my statistics over the last two years, they've been pretty solid. So my stats have been very encouraging."

With his victory, Jacobsen, always a gallery pleaser, got a two-year exemption on the regular tour, a spot in the upcoming World Match Play Championship and also the Mercedes Championships next January at Kapalua, Maui.

Talk about old home week at Plantation Course with Jacobsen again ready to yuk it up with Stadler and another golden oldie, Fred Couples, who might have started this hardly over-the-hill trend in April when he won the Shell Houston Open after going winless over five years.

Jacobsen can't wait to get back to Kapalua. He said Stadler called him the night before he won, saying they would be paired together in the Mercedes Championships if he won because players are paired in the order of their victories.

"I actually thought about that all day," Jacobsen said. "I love Craig Stadler, he's one of my great pals all the way back from college days. I said, 'all right, playing with Stads at Kapalua.' "

After winning the GHO again, 20 years later, Jacobsen didn't think it was a coincidence. He told reporters that "There's no such thing as a coincidence. I believe things happen for a reason."

It must be. The victory made him eligible to return to Kapalua where, you could say, it all began there as well for Jacobsen.

Not only was he a familiar face in the Lincoln-Mercury Kapalua International, Jacobsen first played at Kapalua in the late 1970s when he was just starting out on the tour. He joined Arnold Palmer and Hale Irwin in the Kapalua Golf Party, a celebrity outing hosted by Thos Rohr, then the resort's head professional.

"We've been friends since," said Rohr, now president of the Waikoloa Land Company. He had signed Jacobsen as Waikoloa's touring pro back in 1989.

Jacobsen no longer represents the Big Island resort but they've remained close friends.

Rohr wasn't particularly surprised by Jacobsen's victory.

"You're always surprised when an old pal at 49 wins. But he didn't win automatically. He played great," Rohr said. "And he's good for the tour."

Actually, the seniors were hoping Jake would be good for their tour.

As it turns out, Jacobsen might not be ready to join them, as expected, when he turns 50 on March 4.

"I was planning on playing the Champions Tour next year," Jacobsen said. "Now I don't know what I'm going to do. But it's a nice problem to have."

Golf media's loss

Ruth Tokumoto, the first women's proprietary member of the Mid-Pacific Country Club and ever an appreciative supporter of Hawai'i's golf media, died Friday at the age of 82.

"When it came to volunteering, she never said no. She did everything," said Mark Sousa, Mid-Pac's director of golf since 1977.

"She was the one who started a golf day for the press for both the Mid-Pac Open and the Jennie K. Invitational and was also the chairperson of our annual Club Day tournament involving all the members."

Tokumoto knew the value of promoting the sport she loved, even volunteering to submit reports to the daily newspapers. An avid golfer herself, Tokumoto's greatest thrill was being the Waialae Women's Invitational champion in 1956. She will be missed.

Funeral services will be Aug. 11 at the Hosoi Mortuary, beginning at 6 p.m.

Correction: The Champions Tour 2004 MasterCard Championship will be Jan. 23-25 at Hualalai Golf Club on the Big Island. Its dates do not conflict with the PGA Tour's 2004 Sony Open in Hawai'i, Jan. 15-18 at Waialae Country Club. The MasterCard dates were incorrect in last week's Advertiser.

Bill Kwon can be reached at bkwon@aloha.net.